SHGs are increasingly being utilized as platforms for delivering development activities by funding agencies and governmental bodies, pointing to the slow but steady withdrawal of the state from developmental activities.
Role of SHGs in developmental activities:
- Women empowerment: SHGs primarily focus on empowering women by providing them with financial support, skill development, and livelihood opportunities.
- Financial inclusion: SHGs help in promoting financial inclusion by providing access to credit and savings facilities to their members.
- Livelihood generation: SHGs support income-generating activities and self-employment opportunities for their members.
- Social development: SHGs are involved in awareness generation, behavioral changes, and demand generation for services in food, nutrition, and sanitation.
- Community mobilization: SHGs help in mobilizing communities for collective action and decision-making, fostering social cohesion and cooperation.
Measures taken by the Government of India to promote SHGs:
- Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY): Launched in 1999, this scheme promotes self-employment in rural areas through the formation and skilling of SHGs.
- Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM): This program aims to mobilize poor rural women into SHGs and build community institutions of the poor.
- Interest subvention scheme: The government provides interest subvention to women SHGs for loans up to INR 3 lakhs at an interest rate of 7% per annum.
- Strengthening of SHGs: The government promotes SHG federations such as Village Organizations (VOs) and Cluster Level Federations (CLFs) to provide handholding support.
- Training programs: Regular training programs are conducted for SHG members on SHG management, financial literacy, and livelihood-related technologies.
In conclusion, SHGs play a significant role in developmental activities, particularly in empowering women and promoting financial inclusion. The Government of India has taken various measures to support and strengthen the SHG movement, contributing to the overall socio-economic development of the country.